KEY POINTS

  • With social distancing now set to continue through April, OpenTable is making it easier for people to adhere to them
  • OpenTable reported a 400% increse in U.S. take-out and delivery orders last week
  • OpenTable said it built its platform extension in less than a week

OpenTable, the dinner reservation platform, announced Monday it would expand its software to allow users to choose time slots for shopping times at supermarkets and retailers and also for restaurant pickup to ease long lines amid coronavirus concerns.

The move follows President Trump’s announcement Sunday that federal social distancing guidelines would remain in effect through the end of April.

In early afternoon, the number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus infections topped 153,000 with more than 2,800 deaths.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we see an opportunity to help our restaurant partners pivot to takeout, delivery and storefront business models, so we put a team of engineers together and built this in less than a week,” OpenTable's chief technology officer Joseph Essas said in a statement.

It was unclear when the update would be available.

The platform will prompt users by text message when it’s their turn to shop.

OpenTable last week reported a 400% increase in U.S. take-out and delivery orders as more restaurants shut their dining rooms to conform to social distancing guidelines to help stem the spread of the virus.

Government officials have been urging people to support local businesses by ordering out while grocery and big box stores have instituted senior hours to help protect older Americans from contracting the virus.

Trump, who said last week he was considering lifting the social distancing guidelines, said Sunday models presented by medical experts convinced him it was necessary to extend the guidelines to keep COVID-19 from pushing the death toll to 2.2 million victims.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.  That would be the greatest loss of all,” Trump said during the daily briefing.

Worldwide, more than 766,000 infections have been confirmed, along with nearly 37,000 deaths.